If you follow baseball long enough, you can just feel the cliché writing about it. I’m positive that as I write this, somewhere a sportswriter, very possibly even one of the Cubs beat writers, is writing that this was a game that neither team wanted to win. But that’s not really what we saw. The Cubs certainly didn’t come from behind twice in this one because they didn’t want it enough. Give these guys credit, they are fighting all of the way down to the finish. If there are guys on this team with their eye on going home for the offseason or whatever, it isn’t readily obvious. For all of their flaws, this team has been fighting down to the bitter end.
Certainly this Phillies team wants to win. Despite their 32 blown saves, they are still very much alive for the last playoff spot. As an aside, some national sportswriter is very definitely writing right now that nobody seems to want that last playoff spot. That, of course, is why the Cardinals have battled their way back into contention and ultimately the lead for that last spot.
No, what we witnessed was not two teams that didn’t want it. It was two teams who aren’t very good. Certainly their overall roster is deeper and more talented than the Cubs’ is. But, their bullpen has been a dumpster fire for more than a season now. The Phillies have been almost impossibly bad out of the pen in recent times. Still, they did pull off the rare feat of two blown saves in a game and still winning. That’s a tough accomplishment, not one you see very often.
Instead of bad-mouthing the teams for any perceived lack of effort, I’m going to instead give the Cubs hitters credit for battling their way back into this one twice before losing. This was a game where the Cubs certainly could have rolled over and played dead but didn’t do so. They scored three runs in the final two innings of the game and five over the last five innings to keep this one competitive. In the end, they just didn’t execute when they need to and they lost.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. s you’ll recall, the Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA (Win Probability Added) and are not in any way subjective. Many days WPA will not tell the story of what happened, but often it can give at least a glimpse to who rose to the occasion in a high-leverage moment or who didn’t get the job done in that moment. And now, let’s get to the results.
Game 146, September 15: Phillies 6, Cubs 5
- Superhero: Matt Duffy (.378). 3-5, HR (4), 2B, RBI, 2R
- Hero: Robinson Chirinos (.174). 1-4, HR (5), 2RBI, R, K
- Sidekick: Frank Schwindel (.147). 2-5, HR (12), 2B, 2RBI, R
- Billy Goat: Trevor Megill (-.361). ⅔ IP, 3 batters faced, H, R (0ER), L (1-2)
- Goat: Codi Heuer (-.229). IP, 4 batters faced, H, R
- Kid: Rafael Ortega (-.125). 0-2, K
WPA Play of the Game: With a runner on third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Trevor Megill crossed up Robinson Chirinos, allowing Andrew Knapp to scurry home with the winning run. (.372)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With the Phillies leading 5-4 in the ninth inning, Matt Duffy led off the inning. He’s surely just looking for a pitch he can make good contact with and get on, but Duffy did all of the work himself. He hit a game-tying homer. (.336)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Adbert Alzolay (2IP, 7 batters, 2H, K)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
- Frank Schwindel +29 (+1)
- Kris Bryant +26
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Patrick Wisdom +20
- Rafael Ortega +13 (-1)
- *PJ Higgins -9.5
- Rex Brothers -11.5
- David Bote -13
- Jake Arrieta -19
- Zach Davies -20
Up Next: Kyle Hendricks (14-6, 4.54) gets another shot at picking up his 15th win. The Phillies hadn’t announced a starter at the time I wrote this. It looks like Adonis Medina who was just recently recalled from the minors might take the start. Medina has one career MLB appearance and start, that one came last year for the Phillies. Most of his work through the minors has been as a starter.